Ralph Fiennes was recently interviewed and asked if he had a set way of approaching characters. He said: “I don’t have a specific method that there’s a label for, I think different projects require a different way in, and again depending on the director, often they will spark off a way to imagine or feel or think your way into a role.”
For all acting jobs, there is clearly a need to demonstrate in the audition that you have the emotional perception and intellectual precocity to somehow find a way “in” to a role. For professional actors and drama school applicants, Audition Doctor has been an invaluable intermediary stepping stone – giving students the benefits of a director’s guidance prior to an audition. Much like Fiennes’ outlook, Audition Doctor’s success lies in having no proscriptive method for her students. Each character is simultaneously dissected and constructed in a unique approach that best suits the individual.
However, what all Audition Doctor’s students share is the graft that both Tilly, and most importantly, the student commit to throughout the sessions. This brings to mind Philip Seymour Hoffman’s opinions on preparing for a part:
“I think that the amount of concentration — sometimes the amount of personal exploration — it takes to do something well, can be not pleasant … like hard work is. That doesn’t mean that you don’t want to do it, or that you don’t love it, or that it’s not ultimately satisfying… There’s always something about that job that’s exhausting, and that’s what’s exhausting about acting, is the level concentration over very long period of time.
If there’s something emotional about what you’re doing that day, you’re carrying that emotion on one level or another for a long period of time … it can be burdensome. But it’s part of the work, and you’re trying to create something artful out of it…You’re there to take what you know and the experiences and behaviour and emotional life of yourself and others and try to make something artful out of it.”
Creating something artful is hugely helped if you pick the right speech – something that Audition Doctor is vociferous about. However, Ralph Fiennes recently spoke about the difficulties that actors perversely felt when the script was too perfect: “Sometimes if a script is really good it’s easy to learn the lines and have fun but then you forget where they come from and who the person is who’s saying them.”
Audition Doctor never lets students run away with or hide behind the language. Fiennes went onto say: “I think the interior life of the character is very important, how they think, how they feel, what’s going on inside them.” The focus on the character is so in-depth and sustained at Audition Doctor that students always use the language to their advantage; as a weapon to communicate emotions more effectually with the spectator.
Fiennes went onto say that his greatest challenge was “about not judging. What I like is finding the totality of a person…it’s about the humanity and the horror of them.” Characters created at Audition Doctor are never one-dimensional. The work put in in the sessions means that students always end up forming an authentic character, in other words, creating a piece of art.